Thursday, 5 April 2012

Move Away from the Castle Lovelygrey!

Okay, okay I will move on from Cardiff Castle soon but I have to show you the  apartments which are a complete antidote to minimalist decor.  Last year I admired the animal wall on the outside of the castle which was designed by a chap called William Burges.  Now he was one of the most prestigious gothic architects and good old Wiki has enlightened me about his prolific collection of work.  There's a lesson to be had about the dangers of being a slave to fashion.  A lot of his creations were destroyed or lost when tastes changed in the 1920s-50s.  High quality work is to be cherished whether it coincides with current trends or not.

Anyway, if you are super-rich you might as well go for out and out decadence which is what the Bute family did in the 19th century when the Castle was their home. Burges renovated the castle and built a sumptuous mansion in the grounds complete with spaces that every home should have - like this Arab room with its gilded ceiling.

Now there are animals to spot aplenty as you wander around, carved in stone and wood and incorporated into elaborate painted and gilded panels.  I admired them in solitude after leaving the boys in the care of the rather too ebullient Tudor Torturer whilst he was explaining the mechanics of toenail extraction.  However, the youngsters did their own tour later on. They gained an appreciation of what was on offer in the apartments thanks to a pamphlet prompting them to spot the myriad of animals depicted around the place. I'm told that I missed ants carved on a writing desk in the library. My forty something eyes are not as sharp as they used to be.

I'm a compulsive declutterer myself  and will throw away anything that if I don't know what it is. This sometimes has disastrous consequences.  The disposal of the widget needed to remove the alloy wheels on my last car was a case in point. Its usefulness only came to light when the garage were unable to replace a tyre.  Oops! It will not surprise you then, that my own interiors steer towards the simplistic. Yet, I'm a bit smitten by the work of this Victorian designer who specialised in opulence and look forward to hunting out places where I can view some more of his work which promoted craftsmanship of the highest order.

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